Of Likes and Loss | Teen Ink

Of Likes and Loss

September 24, 2019
By ellarobiinson BRONZE, Sydney, Other
ellarobiinson BRONZE, Sydney, Other
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“No hope without faith, no faith without hope, no love without trust, no trust without love. Remove one and the entire human house of cards collapse.”
-Rick Yancey, The Infinite Sea.

I was young. 

Perhaps ten years old, eleven at a stretch. I can remember it clearly; my father deciding to download the holy grail of all apps, the cornucopia of happy memories snapped candidly on iPhones only to be slathered across the interweb. Instagram. It was, to be the breeding grounds of unhealthy looking girls masquerading under the term “influencer” or “model”. Girls I would worship with blindingly complete faith, second only to that of a lifelong cult follower. But not quite yet. That would come later. 

I remember opening the app and seeing the logo blink across my screen, if only for a second; the brown and white polaroid camera with its minute rainbow strap. My skin tingled ever so lightly, the radiance one receives along with a mixture of content and excitement. The app had loaded. And the first Instagram photo to ever grace my screen was of a heavenly-looking Scandinavian model. Tall, lithe, platinum blonde hair, cherry red lips. Beyond angelic. This was a goddess. The amount of likes the photo had received drew an audible gasp from my mouth. My tiny, sticky fingers slid up my iPod screen only to reveal more gorgeous humans. An image of a gaggle of deeply bronzed Greek girls, unhealthily skinny but attached to an inordinate number of likes my young brain struggled to comprehend. Somewhere in the back of my juvenile mind, the concept of beauty and popularity began to coalesce. A line had been crossed.

As I sped through the years of preadolescence, social media and its accompanying imagery ingrained itself deeply into my life. My actions, friendships and physical appearance were influenced almost entirely by Instagram. What was on my screen had insidiously seeped into my life. The constant comparison of myself to other girls and women. The thousands of photos frozen in time on my camera roll, all deleted after selecting a sole image deemed to be “the one”. Now fourteen, my self image had been warped beyond recognition. A voice had began whispering in my ear. Soft, wise, true. Perhaps not that photo. Your stomach isn’t flat there... You don’t want to be her friend. She only has a couple of hundred followers. Oh, by the way, how many likes did our last post get? Good job. Insecurities began to reveal themselves. Freckles? How dare your face... oversized glasses should hide those. You’re a few kilos too heavy in my opinion. Wouldn’t you like to look like her? Skip a few meals, that should work. 

A fifteen year old version of myself sat on her bed, staring at the last photoshopped, pixel perfect image ever to be forced on her. Eyes squinting through tearfully swollen eyes, Instagram left my world with a single tap of my screen. It felt as though a part of me had been torn out of my body, gone forever. 

But by God I don’t regret it. 

The author's comments:

Hey guys, thank you for reading this. IG has affected my life deeply, and i've only just made the decision to delete it. I thought you might like to read about why :) 

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